Archive: In defence of postmodernism

(Originally published at The Socialist Imaginary) ‘In the past, when you needed information, you went to an encyclopaedia… and you could trust that the information would be true.’ Or so says Andreas Schleicher, the OECD’s famed education guru, best-known as the co-ordinator of the PISA testing process which provides a comparative metric analysis of national education […]

Expendable assets: Staff and students in the pandemic university (long read)

On Friday a letter appeared in The Times – signed by ‘100 leading academics’ no less – advocating ‘a return to face-to-face teaching as soon as possible’, making clear its signatories’ rejection of UCU’s position that wherever possible, teaching in the forthcoming university term should take place online. The Times probably wouldn’t always recognise all […]

Why UCU should fight on

On Friday night, like most people I know, I allowed myself a smile. Status quo. Independent panel. Comparable scheme. For me, this was a win. We’d done it. Forced them to take DC off the table, as UCU’s national leadership encouraged us to believe we had done, won a commitment to an independent panel ahead […]

Why we strike

As I write, the strike over USS in British universities looms ever larger. With action due to begin on 22nd February, and UUK thus far showing no signs of backing down, strike planning has commenced in earnest in union branches across the country. The NUS took a while to release a statement of support, and […]

UK higher education and the perils of ‘it’ll never happen’

The appointment of Toby Young to the board of the Office for Students, the new regulator for English higher education, has unsurprisingly sparked fury amongst academics. Young, a longstanding supporter of Conservative education policy and ‘disruption’ was the poster-boy of the free schools initiative introduced by the coalition government under Michael Gove as Education Secretary. His West London Free School became the symbol of Gove’s desire to ‘free’ education from the remit of ‘the blob’, instead returning to a ‘traditional’ curriculum free from any of that ‘progressive’ nonsense.